Читать онлайн "Just Play" автора Hart Taylor - RuLit - Страница 7


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“Oh.” Roman seemed like he was jerked out of his thoughts. “It’s in the cupboard by the refrigerator. It’s all stocked up. Whatever she doesn’t eat, just stick in the fridge for later.”

Turning to the cupboard, he found peaches, green peas, and more carrots. He pulled them out. “Got it.”

“I mean it, Sam. You couldn’t have come at a better time yesterday. It was like…” his voice trailed off, and then emotion filled it. “You were there for a reason.”

Warm chills washed over Sam. He blinked and shook his head, trying to clear it. “It was no big deal.” He popped off the top and got a spoon.

Maddy was busy hitting the high chair excitedly in anticipation of the food.

He laughed as she slurped back the food. “Boy, this girl can eat.”

Maddy grinned, and her food hung right inside her mouth. Then she blew it out…all over his face.

“Dang!” he stood, reaching for a clean rag that Tiffany had put on top of the newly cleaned high chair last night. “She’s great at getting in some good food spits, too.”

Roman laughed through the phone. “You have no idea.”

“I’m learning.” He wiped her mouth and then filled it with more peaches.

This time she gulped it back.

“I guess she’s a little picky.”

Roman roared out another laugh. “Oh yeah, I never knew picky until I met Maddy.”

Sam grinned, shoveling in more food. “I think she’s going to be as big as her father.”

“Let’s hope not. Katie says that wouldn’t be good for her.”

Sam laughed, thinking that he’d never officially met Roman’s new wife. “I’m glad you found Katie.”

Roman didn’t speak for a second. “The truth is that I got lucky.” He sighed. “And, Sam, Sheena dumping you was the best thing that ever happened to you. You know that, right?”

Sam pushed another round of food into Maddy’s mouth. He sighed. “I know that now, but I just…feel bad about what I did to you.” His mind went to the fact he actually felt great this morning. The past couple of months he felt like every day he woke up and the burden of everything he had done wrong felt more and more crushing. His shrink had asked him if he thought the panic attacks had something to do with the guilt. He hadn’t known for sure then. All he knew now was today, sitting here feeding this pretty little girl and making amends, he felt better than he had in years.

Roman went silent for a second. “I’m worried about Josh,” he confessed. “Concussions are a serious thing, ya know.”

“He’ll be okay,” Sam offered, wishing he could fix it. He knew it might be a lie, but at the moment, Roman needed to hear the reassurance.

“Thank you.” He coughed. “Well, I hope you really are good to stay because I need someone there.”

“I got it handled. Don’t worry about things here. Tell Katie not to worry either.” He was needed by someone. Sam liked the sound of that.

“When will you hear about your contract with Miami?”

“Uh, it’s fine. My agent said we should know by the end of the week if I need to get to Miami to start training with the team.”



“Do you want to go to Miami?”

A tinge of anger passed through him. No, he would prefer to stay as the starting quarterback for the Destroyers, but Sam let it go. He reminded himself it really wasn’t Roman’s fault he was getting traded—it was his own. “Florida is home, so there’s that.”

“True,” Roman agreed. He sighed and then changed the subject. “So, you’re getting along with Tiffany?” His voice was suspicious.

“Ah, sure.”

A light laugh sounded through the phone. “She kinda hates you?”

“Tell me something I don’t know.”

“Yeah, she’s always been fiercely protective of me. Of Katie. See, she and Katie were best friends in high school, and both of them fought over Katie’s first husband.”


“He…passed away a few years ago.”


“Yeah, anyway, they made amends and are best friends again. But recently, the guy she was engaged to broke her heart. He’s in a band, and he ended up cheating on her. It was a raw deal. Tiffany seems tough, but she’s been having a hard time.”

“Oh.” It was all beginning to make more sense now, but it felt weird talking to Roman about ‘cheating.’

“Dude, look, I wasn’t thinking of what you did, okay?”

“No, of course not.” The fact he brought it up told him he was thinking about it.

Roman sighed. “It’s over. If we’re going to be friends, you have to let it go too.”

Without wanting to, Sam got choked up at how easily it seemed Roman had forgiven him—well, minus the black eye. “Okay.”

“Anyway, Tiffany is a great girl. Don’t worry, she’s not all bite. She has a big heart.”

Sam let out a puff of breath and pushed away what he’d felt for her yesterday. “It’ll all be good.” Sam finished up feeding Maddy, wiping her face. He stood and got a sippy cup. He filled it up with water, gave it to her, and smiled as she took a couple of long pulls on it. He actually did feel bad for Tiffany.

Roman exhaled. “Yeah, you’ll have to hear her sing, she’s good. Doing the indie thing. You should ask her about it.”

“Yeah?” He couldn’t picture her really wanting to talk to him at the moment.

“Hey.” He heard the door open and Tiffany call out.

“Is that Tiffany?” Roman asked.

“Yep.” Sam tried to balance the phone as he wiped Maddy’s legs, got ready to unbuckle her and turned to face Tiffany.

“Well, almighty!” Another older blonde woman bustled in next to Tiffany, putting her purse down and clapping her hands before reaching for Maddy. “You come to Auntie Reese, little Darling!”

“Oh, that’s Reese, Tiffany’s mom. Let me talk to her,” Roman commanded.

“Alright.” Giving up the baby, Sam turned to the lady, who looked like a replica of Tiffany. He supposed in reality Tiffany was a replica of her, except the woman was much older and a bit heavier with shorter hair and make up an inch thick. “Roman says he wants to talk to you.”

Tossing the baby into the air, Reese laughed and Maddy giggled. Actually giggled. A million emotions whirled around Sam. Plus, simply having Tiffany in the same room was making him kind of nervous. Reese balanced Maddy on her hip and took the phone.

Reese gave Sam a wink exaggerated by her fake eyelashes. “Thanks, Sugar.” Then she cleared her throat. “Roman Young, you are in trouble.” Her tone sounded like a scolding mother. “You know you could have had Tiffany bring little Maddy back to our place, and I’d have treated her like the princess she is.”

Sam watched as Tiffany, clearly drawn to Maddy, made googly eyes at the baby. “Hey, sweet thing,” she whispered. “It looks like you made it through the night.” Her gaze turned to him. Her lip cocked up to the side. “It looks like you’ve just come back from the dead.”

He noticed Tiffany looked taller in the red summer clogs she wore. She carried a sack full of toys and another sack that she placed on the counter. Today, she wore a jean skirt that ended just above her tanned knees and a light, airy kind of yellow shirt with a string at the top. Her long hair fell down her back in soft curls. He smelled the same light vanilla smell from the night before and tried to not think about how appealing it was.

A half hour later, Sam showered, thinking how between Tiffany and her mother he’d speedily become superfluous in caring for Maddy.

After Reese had gotten off the phone, she’d informed him that she would be taking over for the day, and she’d shooed him off to get a shower.

Now, as he let the water go down his back and scrubbed his face, trying to fully wake up after having been up half the night, he couldn’t stop the stupid grin that appeared.

In less than twenty-four hours, everything about his life had been turned upside down. He’d come to apologize to Roman, and amazingly, he’d somehow been granted forgiveness.



2011 - 2018